Thursday, September 20, 2012

Carrying out your GAME Plan

This week in my 7th grade classes, I tried to introduce my GAME plan to reduce plagiarism in student's report writing by introducing the second attempt at CHOMP website information in order to produce original work.  After 3 days of instructing and encouraging and editing students work, plus answering the same question over and over, several items became very clear to me. First of all, the students expect miraculous results after putting in very little work, my students are not listening, a few students have developed a helplessness attitude, plus I need to remain calm and consistent throughout all the complaining. My reflection on my GAME plan to introduce The Website Data CHOMP Unit indicated to me that students need to understand what plagiarism 'looks' like before they can identify it; then avoid it. My reflection also revealed that students were doing better on this second assignment then they did on the first one. 
      I shared my GAME plan with my tech coordinator. She approved of this because Common Core Writing Standard 8 states "Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation (Ohio Department of Education., 2011). This standard is very relevant to 21st century learners and is packed with significance. I realize covering all the components in this standard will take time and need to be thoroughly organized. 
      Bothersome for me this week, was the resistance my students had to learning this method. They complained it was too hard, why should they do this, wasn't copy and pasting plagiarism anyway? One girl even said, "What does this have to do with computer?" I realized they don't like it because it does take effort, but it is the best avoid plagiarism method I have been introduce to, and it makes sense. The 21st century students need to learn Internet research methods because that is their choice when seeking information (Dana, N. & Yendol-Hoppey., 2009.) 
       The resources and information I will need to carry out my GAME plan are computers with Internet connection, document making software, projector and screen. I will need to supplement my lecturing, with videos from Common Craft by Lee Lefevore, and show samples of previous reports and reference pages. I need to have samples showing the proper formatting of a simple reference page. I realized I need to teach some remedial computer skills such as copy, paste as opposed to cut, paste. Students were not sure what double spacing a document meant, or looked like, much less how to select the text and then click the correct tool for double space. I will need a vast supply of patience because teaching the new techniques, and students learning the new techniques are too far apart in my class of 7th graders.  

Dana, N. F. & Yendol-Hoppey, D., The reflective educators guide to classroom research., (2009) Corwin Press., Thousand Oaks, CA.

Ohio Department of Education., 2012., National Technology Standards., Department of Accountability., Retrieved on September 20, 2012 from


  1. Christine,

    As a fellow seventh grade teacher, it almost sounds like you were writing the beginning part about my classes. My students exhibit very similar qualities, and become frustrated when they are not able to grasp concepts or ideas immediately. This is certainly a by-produce of the day and age that we live in. Our students expect instant gratification for their work, hard work or not. The fact that you exhibit remarkable patience for your students is a testament to your skills as an educator. Your reflection about your GAME plan and the progress of your students shows tremendously effective teaching practice. Your GAME plan is designed extremely well, and through time and patience, I am very confident that your students will reach the goals that you are setting for them. I will be very interested to see how they progress through this process.

    Excellent ideas!


    1. I will be very interested too Scott, to see how my students progress. I am seeing the girls take more responsibility for changing the wording and cutting away the superfluous words in their 'copy and pasted data'. I'm going to attribute this trend to the right brain, language arts tendency for females. The boys, seem uninterested in following my repeated directions. Although, I will mention that a few boys 'Dan' for instance completed his project on the creator of PacMan. He finished because he was genuinely interested in his famous person. I wish the other boys would put forth more effort. By the way, the topic was a short report (one page) on a famous person, but you could not choose a musician, actor or athlete. The students wailed, then who is left to do a report on? In their 12 year old world, rappers spewing swear words are "famous people".

  2. Christine, I echo Scott's comments. My high school students also sound like your 7th graders. My students would have benefited from your plan. As a school, we are now also using to check for plagiarism and we still have kids who turn in copied work. The highest was nearly 100%!! The only original piece was his cover page. Teaching kids that their ideas are more meaningful to their teachers is a hard task. We also live in a very immediate, fast paced society. It doesn't surprise me that kids approach their studies the same way. I am saddened by it, but not surprised.

    I teach a research paper unit at the end of each third quarter, and getting the kids to understand that they must site sources is always a chore. They either site every other sentence or nothing at all. I will be checking out this CHOMP site to see how it works. I have not heard of it before.

    Good luck and deep breaths!

  3. The CHOMP method was something I picked up in the last course. I think it was from Reading the Web: Strategies for Internet Inquiry . I took that particular book to school with me and use it as a reference. What I need to do is make up a CHOMP display for a board in my room. I need to visually display samples of the steps I want the students to follow and not just lecture the steps. If I every get a break from my 'to do' list, I will spend the hours needed to set up the display. I'm sure it will jump start this unit for me.

  4. As a teacher, I think it is very important to teach student skills that they are going to use for a life time even if it doesn’t fall into our curriculum. Therefore, having students learn the value and appreciation of putting in effort to create your own ideas is a very important and daunting task at times, on top off teaching them not to plagiarize. I think this lesson is very valuable for our students of the 21s century, because using the research process with tangible resource i.e. books, articles, and/or journals are becoming obsolete. Our students know have even more research just at the reach of their fingers tips. I think another resource you could use to help students identify plagiarism is to have both examples and non-examples and have the students analyze the example and pick out where the author plagiarized.

  5. It sounds like a bit of a frustrating start. If that process is working for some of your students then it seems reasonable to let them keep working. If others are feeling defeated, perhaps a different strategy is in order. I had an issue with students writing BCR's. They would hand in any old garbage they whipped out and expected me to be exuberant and liberal in passing out high marks. After a few failed efforts to teach them how to write I turned the tables so to speak. I wrote a few BCR prompts which covered some of the things that I found frustrating, I included a almost perfect and a pin perfect BCR prompt as well. I let them evaluate and discuss and then we talked about how I would grade. It really surprised the students that I wasn't quite as picky as they were (funny since they initially thought I was too tough in my grading.

    I think you could do a similar type of thing without too much trouble. Perhaps pick a couple of short passages and write a couple of summaries. Let the students try to see how they would categorize: plagiarized, almost summarized, well summarized. Sometimes there are some real subtleties in this type of activity. Perhaps if they wanted to check their ideas before the class discussion you could have them submit to turn it in or grammarly. I think a really rich discussion can come out of that as well. Since sometimes these programs identify something as copied that you clearly know is not related to what was written. This way you still work in the tech but you do it in a way that gives them a tool to use for their own class writing as well. Perhaps they would see this as more beneficial.

    It was interesting that some students don't like the copy paste portion. I can see where the very concrete thinking is causing issues with a technique that should shorten the time required for the activity. Perhaps having students type instead of copy and paste would alleviate this piece as well. I can see where someone may have told them not to do this and this type of conflict tends to undermine instruction.